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Newsletter: African Terrorism Bulletin Issue 5
9 March 2006

ISS - African Terrorism Bulletin

 

March 2006 | Issue 005


Welcome to the fifth edition of the African Terrorism Bulletin. The quarterly newsletter is produced by the Organised Crime and Money Laundering Programme of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS). The aim is to provide balanced information, analysis and critical perspectives regarding news on terrorism and counter-terrorism strategies on the African continent.

The information in this and future African Terrorism Bulletins will be based on ‘open source` information. Commenting on developments relating to terrorism remains a sensitive issue. The Bulletin will endeavour to steer through the different agendas that form part of the discourse on terrorism in a critical and balanced way. Different sections focus on terrorism in the news, state responses and critical perspectives. Most of the information focuses on issues around terrorism as they relate to the African continent, yet, due to the transnational nature of the phenomenon, issues from further afield are not ignored.

Comments, contributions and critiques from our readers are encouraged. Please feel free to pass this newsletter on to anyone who you think may be interested in the content of the African Terrorism Bulletin. To subscribe or comment, please send an e-mail to terrorism@issafrica.org .

 CONTENTS


Increased instability at the Niger Delta
Libya bidding to be removed from terror list
Wire fence to prevent further attacks at Egyptian resort
Kenyan traders held for questioning
No retrial for bin Laden aide
Malawi cancels fertiliser deal due to al Qaeda links
Namibian court throws out treason trial appeal bid
Boeremag convict released
Lawyer to take on the South African government at the ICC
Global inquiry into effects of anti-terrorism measures on human rights and rule of law
FATF/ESAAMLG joint plenary meeting held in South Africa
Pirate attacks on the increase: link to international terrorism feared
New Somali financial services body established
Bio-terrorism conference held in Uganda
Swazi anti-terrorism bill resubmitted after arson
The link between terrorism and oil
ISS seminar: Towards understanding terrorism in Africa
Rights versus Justice: Issues around extradition and deportation in transnational terrorist cases
South Africa`s anti-terror law: Among the least restrictive?

 EDITORIAL


This newsletter provides a mixed bag of African terrorism news. In the past months, news agencies have carried many reports about increased tensions and disruptions at the Niger Delta in the West African nation of Nigeria. Since the late 1950s, multinational oil corporations have been extracting “black gold” from the Niger Delta. Local residents have failed to reap any benefits from the rich resource on their doorstep. In fact, despite the abundance of natural oil resources in the area, poverty remains endemic. Recently, Nigeria has been confronted by rebel forces vowing to cripple oil exports. Foreign oil workers have been kidnapped and later released against the payment of ransom, and other acts of violence have been perpetrated. The question arises whether such activities should be coined as ‘terrorism` or whether they fall under ‘rebel activities`, ‘dissent` or other concepts describing violent activities. Increasingly analysts and journalists are branding violent activities as acts of terrorism.

The crime of terrorism, of course, carries much tougher penalties than most criminal activities. It is for that reason that many autocratic rulers are quick to categorise opponents or critics as terrorists. Prosecuting and ‘getting rid` of these elements is an easy endeavour, once they have been labelled terrorists. The section on ‘Critical Perspectives` provides some more insight on the purported link between terrorism and oil and what has been called ‘petro-terrorism`.

Another news report that has captured the mind of the editorial team is the mysterious disappearance of Pakistani national Khalid Mahmood Rashid, who was allegedly linked to the al Qaeda network. The South African Department of Home Affairs maintained that Rashid was deported to Pakistan after contravening the South African Immigration Act. Family and other concerned parties fear that Rashid may have ended up in one of the notorious American terrorist detention camps. Due to the silence on this matter by South African authorities, a lawyer for the family is now preparing to take on the South African government at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Such legal action could set an important precedent for governments to introduce transparency in deportation or extradition proceedings. Intelligence reports point to Rashid having been abducted by American counter-terrorism officials. South African Home Affairs officials have the power to refute such allegations.

 TOP STORY


Increased instability at the Niger Delta

February 28 2006- Foreign oil companies accustomed to high tension in Nigeria`s oil-rich Niger Delta are coming increasingly under fire. Over the past twenty years, multinational corporations producing Nigeria`s oil in the impoverished southern regions have felt the brunt of disruptions caused by protests or sabotage by locals, who feel dispossessed of their oil wealth by the Nigerian government. But since the beginning of 2006, the oil rich country has been confronted by rebel forces vowing to cripple oil exports and kidnappers with political demands. One new grouping is determined to take control of the region`s oil resources by force. Armed groups frequently take oil workers hostage, and usually free them after payment of ransom.
In early January 2006, members of the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), a rebel group, kidnapped four Royal Dutch Shell employees from a company vessel. They demanded youth empowerment, employment, compensation for environmental degradation and the release of political prisoners. The oil workers were released after being held hostage for nearly three weeks. MEND later stated that the release of the hostages did not signify a ceasefire or softening of their mission to destroy the oil export capability of the Nigerian government. They denied that any money had changed hands, claiming expatriates were abducted to make a statement to challenge the government on the people`s will. The group added that their revolution was not an “act of terrorism but a red letter of persuasive diplomatic dialogue … ruled by the laws that vindicate the logic of nature, where the greatest asset of man is man”. MEND has threatened further action.

The kidnappings were part of a string of attacks against multinational oil companies in Nigeria. Around twenty armed men in speedboats attacked the riverside office of Daewoo, a South Korean oil servicing company in late January. Over US $200 000 were stolen and several people wounded. During the same month, 30 men stormed Italy`s Agip Oil Company in Port Harcourt, killing more than a handful of people and stealing some US $30 000. The escalating incidents have affected world oil prices; in fact, the violent incidents of the past two months have cut Nigeria`s daily oil exports by almost ten percent. Industry analysts maintain that hostilities were not linked to ethnic differences but as to who controlled the illegal trade in stolen oil. They estimate a figure of 100, 000 barrels of oil being diverted from official exports daily. To escape the Delta`s chronic instability, oil companies have started to move operations offshore.
Since the late 1950`s, multinational oil corporations have exploited the oil reserves of the Niger Delta. Various repressive Nigerian military governments protected them. Ken Saro-Wiwa`s Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People rose to international acclaim after a massive non-violent public protest campaign against Shell Oil. General Abacha executed Saro-Wiwa in 1995. The key area of conflict is the Bayesa region of the Niger Delta. Its development profile presents a paradox. Despite the abundance of natural resources in the area, it is undermined by endemic poverty of its people.
Read the Power and Interest News Report (PINR) intelligence brief
Read the BBC article
Read the UN IRIN report “Nigeria: Fate of hostages uncertain as militants push demands”

 TERRORISM IN THE NEWS


Libya bidding to be removed from terror list

January 26 2006 – Libya only recently succeeded at getting economic sanctions lifted, which had catapulted the North African nation to the fringes of the international community for the past two decades. Now Libya is lobbying for its removal from the United States list of state sponsors of terrorism. Economists contend that the country`s continued inclusion on the list deprives the country of growth opportunities.
Relations between Libya and Western countries improved markedly in 2003, when Libya agreed to pay compensation for the 1988 bombing of an airliner over Scotland . The country also joined the so-called
`War on Terror` and abandoned its programmes on ‘weapons of mass destruction`. But Washington has yet to lift Libya from its list of states, which sponsor terrorism. The US has promised the North African nation closer ties but has said it needs to do more on democracy, human rights and fighting terrorism.

Considering the US antics at Guatananomo Bay , this concern seems on the hypocritical side. Yet, a recent Human Rights Watch report underlines the inferior human rights regiment in Libya , “Laws restricting freedom of speech and assembly in Libya are jarringly at odds with international human rights norms”. Early in January 2006, Tripoli told Human Rights Watch, it had released 14 political prisoners and closed down a special court, which endorsed unfair sentencing of political activists. Despite this, the international human right watchdog has renewed its call on democratic governments not to turn the blind eye on Libya .
Read the Yahoo News article
Download the Human Rights Watch report “Words to Deeds: The Urgent Need for Human Rights Reform”

Wire fence to prevent further attacks at Egyptian resort

November 09 2005 –Egyptian authorities have erected a wire fence around Sharm El-Sheik`s tourist spots in an attempt to prevent further terrorist incidents from happening at the Red Sea resort. This follows the simultaneous suicide bombings outside two hotels and a market in July 2005, in which more than sixty people lost their lives. Several groups claimed responsibility for the attacks, with one citing links to the al Qaeda network. Yet, Egyptian authorities have failed to identify the perpetrators to date.

The wire fence is one-and-a-half meters high and 20 kilometres long. Security forces are to patrol the fence day and night. Access to the city is now restricted to police-monitored entry points, equipped with explosives detection equipment.

Critics have compared the Egyptian fence to the so-called “Apartheid Wall”, constructed by the Israelis for the same reason. It also has been suggested that the new barrier would increase the likelihood of terrorist attacks.
Read the Al-Ahram article
Read the Middle East Times article
Read the story in the last African Terrorism Bulletin

Kenyan traders held for questioning

October 30 2005 – Four men were arrested for questioning on terror claims in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. Three of the men operate a forex bureau in the city`s Eastleigh estate and the fourth imports second-hand vehicles from Japan and Dubai . Police were tight-lipped about the arrests, but said that they were investigating claims about local terrorist financing. Police sources were saying that the investigations had not linked the suspects to any specific terror threat in Kenya or any other country. Anti-terrorism police are investigating the source of wealth for each of the suspects. Investigators have confiscated several computers and documents in the possession of the suspects.

Meanwhile, the hunt for terror suspects took an interesting twist when officers attached to the anti-terrorism unit were held on criminal suspicions in late October 2005. The officers had been tracing alleged terror suspects at Eldoret`s Abrar High School for three days. The school`s principal had alerted the police on suspicion that the anit-terrorism sleuths were criminals. The police laid an ambush, and the ‘crime` suspects were released upon identification. The Eldoret incident was followed by protests by hundreds of Kenyan Muslims over alleged harassment and violation of their rights.
Read the Nation article on allafrica.com
Read the East African Standard article

No retrial for bin Laden aide

November 02 2005 - US federal judge Kevin Duffy turned down an application for retrial of a convicted aide to Osama bin Laden in the bombings of two US embassies in Africa . The case for a retrial was made after it emerged that the US Marshal`s Service had suppressed evidence during Wadih El-Hage`s 2001 conspiracy trial. The judge acknowledged that US government “inaction, incompetence and stonewalling to cover up their mistakes” had seriously jeopardised the case. Yet, he denied a new trial, saying that none of the undisclosed material was powerful enough to displace the government`s other evidence of El-Hage`s guilt.

Wadih El-Hage, a former personal secretary to bin Laden, and three others were sentenced to life imprisonment after they were convicted of conspiracy in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi , Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania . Lawyers for El-Hage challenged the 2001 conviction on several grounds, including that the US government failed to turn over videotapes of interviews with Jamal al-Fadl, one of al Qaeda`s first members and the prosecution`s first witness, until more than fifteen months after the trial. Al-Fadl identified El-Hage in court, and alleged that he received a salary from al Qaeda and was trained to handle its payroll. Prosecutors were kept in the dark about the videotapes made while al-Fadl was in a witness-protection program until early 2002.

A lawyer for El-Hage said that the ruling would be appealed.
Read the Newsday.com article
Read the TBO.com article
For further background reading refer the New York Times article

Malawi cancels fertiliser deal due to al Qaeda links

October 14 2005 – The government of Malawi has cancelled a US $ 30 million deal to buy fertiliser from a Saudi Arabian company. It is alleged that the company has links to the terror network al Qaeda. Malawi is in the grip of major food shortages brought on by the worst drought in a decade. This has been compounded by the late delivery of fertilisers and seed. Malawi Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe said that the deal was thought to ease the crisis. The government`s strategy was to import over 100,000 tonnes of fertiliser to help out impoverished farmers to generate food production. The Saudi Arabian company had offered the cheapest fertiliser, after a group of Malawian government officials had travelled the world in search of the best deal available. Initially, the US-based Citibank had rejected to strike a deal with the company, as it had been blacklisted by the US government for alleged links to al Qaeda. Despite the resultant delay of a government subsidy plan for poor farmers, the Malawi government has withdrawn from the deal.
Read the Khaleej Times article
Read the UN IRIN article on Allafrica.com

Namibian court throws out treason trial appeal bid

February 10 2006- Despite an appeal bid, the second Caprivi high treason trial has started in the Namibian capital of Windhoek. Eleven of the 120 suspects had claimed that they were abducted from Botswana in order to be brought to Namibia and to be arrested and prosecuted for high treason. A court ruling rejected those claims. The Namibian treason trial relates to an attempt by the Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA) to secede the north-eastern Caprivi region from Namibia. In 1999, the secessionists launched an armed attack on government forces and buildings in the regional capital of Katima Mulilo. In the attacks, eleven people were killed, including members of the Namibian security forces. After the initial assault, government forces repelled the attack and rounded up rebel fighters and suspected civilian sympathisers. Over 300 people were detained on suspicion of participating in the attempted secession, sympathising with the secessionists or assisting them to plan or launch the attacks. Many of the detainees stated that they were tortured at the time of their arrest and during the interrogation. While the 120 suspects remain in custody, their trial on charges of high treason, murder and other offences has been dragging on for more than six years. In January 2006, a 35-years old suspect died of an undisclosed illness in a Windhoek hospital. Meanwhile, the Namibian National Society for Human Rights claimed that members of the Namibian Police had been trying to force people to give testimony in the trial. Despite the defence lawyers` attempts during cross examination, none of the witnesses acknowledged that they had been forced to testify during the trial proceedings. International human rights watchdog Amnesty International voiced its concern that violations of the defendants` pre-trial rights may seriously undermine their right to a fair hearing in accordance with international standards set out in the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the African Charter on Human and Peoples` Rights.
Read the UN IRIN article
Read the Namibian article
Read the Namibian article on Allafrica.com
Download the Amnesty International report “Namibia: Justice delayed is justice denied, The Caprivi Treason Trial”

Boeremag convict released

December 21 2005 – Boeremag convict Dawid Oosthuisen was released from jail in late December 2005. He was sentenced in 2003 following a plea bargain agreement with the state. Oosthuisen`s eight-year sentence was converted into correctional supervision after he saved the life of a fellow inmate, who was in the process of hanging himself in his cell. The 22 co-accused in the Boeremag trial have all pleaded not guilty on indictments ranging from treason to terrorism, murder and causing a series of explosions. The charges are linked to the 2002 bomb blasts in Soweto, South Africa`s largest township. Seven of the blasts destroyed commuter railway lines running through the township, inconveniencing more than 200 000 commuters. The eighth blast occurred at a mosque. The hitherto unknown white rightwing organisation, Die Boeremag, claimed responsibility for the bombings. Amongst the alleged Boeremag members were serving military officers, qualified professional people and prosperous farmers. The South African extreme right is based on a philosophy of radical nationalism and a sense of God-given purpose. The lengthy treason trial of the 22 accused commenced in 2003. Thus far, South African taxpayers have forked out more than 3.9 million South African Rand to cover legal counsel for the men.
Read the Mail & Guardian article
Read the News24.com article
Download the ISS monograph “`Volk, Faith and Fatherland: The Security Threat posed by the White Right”

 STATE RESPONSES


Lawyer to take on the South African government at the ICC

March 12 2006- The family members of Pakistani national Khalid Mahmood Rashid, who was allegedly linked to al Qaeda, have demanded answers from the South African Department of Home Affairs with regards to his whereabouts. In February, Attorney Zehir Omar launched an urgent Pretoria High Court application to establish what had happened to Rashid. His family has not heard from him in more than four months. Home Affairs maintains that Rashid was lawfully deported to Pakistan in November 2005, but failed to provide details of his deportation or flight numbers. Following claims that Rashid was a member of al Qaeda and Taliban, the family fears that he may be unlawfully detained at an American detention centre. Rashid and fellow Pakistani national Ismail Ebrahim Jeebhai were arrested in Kwazulu-Natal last October for allegedly contravening the Immigration Act. A court later ruled that Jeebhai`s detention was unlawful and ordered his release. Meanwhile, Rashid disppeared from the face of the Earth. Home Affairs had agreed to file a further affidavit, disclosing the details of the deportation. The affidavit has not been filed to date. Omar now is preparing to take on the South African government at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague over the mysterious and unaccounted disapperance of Rashid.
Read the Sunday Tribune article
Read the South African Department of Home Affairs media release

Global inquiry into effects of anti-terrorism measures on human rights and rule of law

November 11 2006 – An independent panel of prominent international judges and lawyers has launched a global inquiry into the effects of counter-terrorism measures on human rights and rule of law. This inquiry is going to be conducted under the auspices of the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) for a period of 18 months. The panel led by former South African Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson. Their move was prompted by growing concern that many governments were abusing rights and undermining the rule of law in their battle against terrorism. The fight against terrorist acts had led to repeated allegations of torture, indefinite and secret detentions, often without charge or trial, the reduction of defence rights and threats to freedom of expression around the world. The United States of America has come under fire from human rights groups for domestic measures adopted under President George W. Bush`s ‘War against Terror` and for its treatment of detainees in Iraq and at its Guatanamo Bay camp in Cuba. However, members of the panel reiterated that they would look at the record of many countries. A report and recommendations will be produced, which are hoped to contribute to the debate on how best to respond to terrorism.
Read the article on the International Commission of Jurists website
Read the Alertnet article
Read the article in the Turkish Weekly

FATF/ESAAMLG joint plenary meeting held in South Africa

February 17 2006 – Terrorist financing, corruption and money laundering dominated the agenda of a joint plenary meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Eastern and Southern Africa Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) in Cape Town, South Africa. The FATF is an international anti-money laundering body, currently chaired by South Africa`s Professor Kader Asmal, while ESAAMLG is a regional anti-money laundering group. Both bodies are part of a global network that is committed to combating money laundering and terrorist financing. More than 400 delegates from 44 countries discussed ways to build effective anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing infrastructures in emerging economies.
Among the issues considered were customer identification, interplay between anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) requirements and facilitating increased access to banking services, physical cross-border transportation of criminal proceeds and implications relating to putting AML/CFT measures in place in cash-based economies. Delegates also examined the issue of corruption associated with money laundering.

This was the FATF`s first meeting on African soil. The G7 countries established the FATF in 1989 to examine the tactics and trends in trading with illicit money. The third FATF Plenary under the South African presidency will take place in June 2006 in Paris.
Download the Chairperson`s summary of the Cape Town Plenary

Pirate attacks on the increase: link to international terrorism feared

January 30 2006– The hijacking of cargo ships is on the increase, threatening trade and humanitarian aid to the northern and eastern regions of Africa.

The attack on the Seabourn Spirit, a luxury cruise liner off the Somalia coast was one of the many ships and sea vessels that have come under attack in the past months. The cruise liner was travelling from Egypt to Kenya. More than 300 passengers survived machinegun fire and rocket-propelled grenade attacks when pirates tried to seize the ship. In addition, the Seabourn Spirit was carrying emergency food aid for Somalia.
The rising cases of pirate attacks have caused the World Food Programme (WFP) to consider the suspension of transporting food aid to Somalia by sea. During the last two months, the WFP had to transport food aid via a land route, a more expensive and slower option. Head of the Kenyan chapter of the Seafarers Assistance Programme, Andrew Mwangure, stated that Somalia`s coastline was the most dangerous place in the region with regards to maritime security. This is further compounded by the fact that Somalia has no navy to police its seawaters. Security experts argue that it was difficult to quantify incidences of piracy off the Somalia coast because many shipping companies failed to report attacks by pirates or ransom paid because they did not want to raise their insurance premiums. The Transitional Somali Government has signed a US $ 50 million deal with a private US marine security company to carry out coastal patrols for the next two years. The origins and availability of the funds remain unclear; as neither the Somali government has effectively taken office, nor the security company has commenced its work.
Meanwhile, a multi-national force has been deployed along the Indian Ocean coastline to combat the rising number of sophisticated pirates. Kenyan security forces fear that al Qaeda could be using pirate attacks to help finance its operations. They cite the captured maritime military manuals of al Qaeda chief Bad al-Raman al-Nature, who masterminded several suicide attacks on military ships.

In other news, the United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution that calls on States that have not done so to become parties to the Law of the Sea and the “Fish Stocks Agreement”. States should cooperate to address piracy, armed robbery at sea, smuggling and terrorist acts against shipping and other maritime interests and work with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to promote safe and secure shipping, while ensuring freedom of navigation.
Read the BBC article
Read the Sydney Morning Herald
Read the East African Standard article
Download the UN General Assembly Resolutions on Fisheries and the Law of the Sea
Read a related story in the last African Terrorism Bulletin

New Somali financial services body established

October 01 2005 – Somali remittance companies have been subject to close scrutiny since the September 11th terrorist attacks. This combined with a lack of transparency and accountability led to the closure of the biggest Somali remittance company, Al-Bakarat, in November 2001 by US authorities. Links with terrorist groups were suggested, a charge vehemently denied by the company. According to UN statistics, money transfer companies remit approximately US $750 million annually on behalf of Somalis living in the Diaspora. For the Somali business sector, remittance companies are the main gateway to the rest of the world. Somali Financial Services Association (SFSA), a new Somali financial services body, was established with the support of the UNDP. The objective of the SFSA is to create an environment conducive for the entry of a formal banking sector. It will act as a supervisory and accountable body over the financial services companies and serve “as conduit between members and authorities in foreign countries on issues such as legislation”.
Read the Ghanaweb.com article

Bio-terrorism conference held in Uganda

October 21 2005 – An international conference on bio-security and the danger of biological terrorism was held in the Ugandan capital Kampala. The conference was organised by the International Law Institute – Uganda (ILI) and the US- based International Consortium for Law and Strategic Security. Security experts, lawyers and government officials from East Africa and international delegates focused on the policy implications of using science to eradicate diseases, while simultaneously controlling access to disease-causing organisms to prevent bio-terrorism. Delegates called for strict measures to be formulated to guard against the misuse of biology and warned that failure to address concerns over biological weapons could undermine efforts to develop and inspire confidence in science. Africa was perceived to be vulnerable to bio-terrorism by some as it lacked the institutions, technology and expertise needed to detect potential threats. It was suggested that the dual threats of emerging infections and bio-terrorism could pose conceptual as well as technical challenges to the region`s intelligence organs, such as distinguishing between a natural outbreak of an emerging disease and the deliberate release of a pathogen by terrorists. Delegates recommended that the region`s intelligence communities should recruit additional individuals with advanced training in microbiology, infectious diseases and epidemiology to work as intelligence analysts focusing on biological warfare and bio-terrorist threats.
Read the Nation article on allafrica.com

Swazi anti-terrorism bill resubmitted after arson

February 03 2006 – Fourteen members of the banned People`s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) have been arrested on treason charges in the Swazi capital of Mbabane. They will be tried for nearly a dozen bombings in late 2005 that targeted the homes of police officers, government officials and government buildings. Damage was minimal and no injuries were sustained. No one has claimed responsibility to date. The bombings have revived a draconian anti-terrorism bill in that country. The Internal Security Act, which was first introduced in 2002, was criticised by pro-democracy groups for its suspension of civil liberties, harsh penalties and too broad a definition of what constitutes terrorism. Opposition parties fear that the law may be used by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa`s last absolute monarch, to silence opposition to his reign.
Read the UN IRIN report “Swaziland: Political activists flee as arrests continue”
Read the News24.com article
Read the Globalsecurity.org article

 CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES


The link between terrorism and oil

Many terrorism analysts are focusing their attention to a previously under-researched topic, so-called ‘petro-terrorism`. Critics of the US-led ‘War on Terror` contend that on the pretext of fighting international terrorism, the US is trying to establish control over the world`s richest oil reserves. This is a view contested by US officials. Undeniably though, both the US and its allies and some terrorist groupings have focused their attention to oil. The top story in this newsletter informs about increased instability in the Niger Delta, where saboteurs of oil lines are often referred to as ‘terrorists`. In Iraq, suicide attacks and other terror activities targeted at oil production occur frequently.

What is petro-terrorism? Like any definition of ‘terrorism`, this is a highly contested topic. Proponents from the US camp hold that petro-terrorism is a form of terrorism, which targets global oil reserves with political, ideological and/or religious motifs. Other would argue that petro-terrorism is just another concept in a long string of terrorism-related concepts that provide ammunition for the ‘War on Terror`.

Last year`s awarding of the Nobel Foundation`s Peace Prize to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its director, Mohamed El-Baradei, illustrates the global significance of the energy sector. Despite the enormous effort put into the search for alternative sources of energy, most controversially nuclear, oil remains the principal source of energy worldwide. In the eyes of many, dependence on foreign oil is America`s Achilles heal.

Some of the most crisis-ridden territories have an abundance of oil resources. Mohamed Sid-Ahmed writing for the Al-Ahram Weekly argues that solving the oil problem would help solve many other problems as well. Formidable profits generated during the first oil price hike in the 1970s, were lost to corruption and only deepened the socio-economic problems of the oil-producing nations. This is particularily worring in light of the sudden unprecedented rise in oil prices, which experts predict will not go down in the forseeable future. Sid-Ahmed suggests that the two scourges of our time, terrorism and poverty, are inextricably linked. He goes on to argue that unless and until the world works out a fair distribution of wealth, the war against terrorism cannot succeed. This entailed “first and foremost, unyielding war against corruption, waste, the various forms of pollution, not only of nature, but also natural pollution, on which depends the ability of a society to stand up and launch its development programmes”.

Another link between oil and terrorism is often drawn between the US-led ‘War on Terrorism` and the ‘plundering` of world oil reserves. Leonid Shebarshin, director of the Russian National Economic Security Service opined, “The US has usurped the right to attack any part of the globe on the pretext of fighting the terrorist threat.”. Sid-Ahmed closes his analysis of a link between terrorism and oil by a rhetorical question: “Can we benefit from the lessons of the past decades to eradicate poverty and terrorism, or shall we passively accept our fate and let terrorism get the upper hand?”

Of course, oil has become an important economic factor in West Africa and other regions of Africa. Some analysts have trumpeted West Africa`s large crude oil and gas resources as a possible substitute for America`s growing dependence on crude exports from the unstable Middle East. In reference to our TOP STORY (Increased instability at the Niger Delta), a possible link between oil and violent activities/terrorism can be noted. The attempted coup bid in Equatorial Guinea also serves as a grim reminder of how small nations are rendered pawns in the scramble for oil. We would like to encourage our readers to express their opinions and comments on this subject. Certainly in light of recent al Qaeda calls for attacks on the economic infrastructure of Western countries to stop the ‘robbery` of Arabic oil, the link between oil and terrorism is likely to become a hot topic of debate around the world.
Download “Terrorism and Oil” by Mohamed Sid-Ahmed (Yale Global Online)
Read the Al-Ahram Weekly Online article
Read mosnews.com article
Download the IAGS Energy Security Brief

 ANNOUNCEMENTS


ISS seminar: Towards understanding terrorism in Africa

The Cape Town and Nairobi offices of the Insitute for Security Studies are organising a seminar on terrorism in Africa in Dar es Salaam from 20 to 21 March 2006. The seminar brings together scholars and analysts from North, West, East and Southern Africa. They will commence a process of developing a better understanding of how terrorism and its impact are perceived across the continent.
For more information, please contact Peter Gastrow, email pgastrow@issafrica.org

Rights versus Justice: Issues around extradition and deportation in transnational terrorist cases

This essay highlights the difficulties experienced in prosecuting two transnational terrorist cases in southern Africa. The first case study deals with the arrest and deportation of five alleged al Qaeda members from Malawi. The procedures were in sharp contravention of Malawi `s constitutional provisions, ultimately undermining its rule of law, constitutionalism and respect for human rights. Extradition in the Khalfan Khamis Mohamed case demonstrates that there is a distinct difference between extradition and deportation; furthermore, it is unlawful to use deportation procedures to effect an extradition.
Download the essay published in the African Security Review 14.4

South Africa`s anti-terror law: Among the least restrictive?
Annette Hà¼bschle looks at South Africa `s anti-terror legislation, the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorism and Related Activities Act (Act 33 of 2004). Throughout the drafting process concerns were raised from a number of civil society and faith organisations that aspects of the new law could detract from basic human rights and civil liberties. This commentary sketches a short history of the Act and provides a critique and an international perspective on the anti-terrorism legislation versus human rights debate.
Download the commentary published in the African Security Review 14.4

Please inform us of upcoming terrorism-related meetings, seminars, workshops, conferences, publications and other developments by sending a message to ahuebschle@issafrica.org

 ABOUT THE ISS


The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) is an applied policy non-profit research organisation with a focus on human security issues on the African continent.

This newsletter is produced by the Organised Crime and Money Laundering Programme of the Institute for Security Studies and funded by the Royal Norwegian Government.

 EDITORIAL TEAM


Annette Hà¼bschle (Researcher: Organised Crime and Money Laundering Programme) – ahuebschle@issafrica.org
Luzuko Pupuma (ISS Research Intern)
Mxolisi Makinana (former ISS Research Intern)


Institute for Security Studies
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Tel +27 (0)21 461-7211 • Fax +27 (0)21 461-7213
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